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Parrottrek Journal 2014

We've had some great adventures.
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We stopped off at a vineyard and winery

They had some very tasty wines

We toured the barreling room

The fun lighthouse themed water tower

April 26th - Toasting 17 years of Marriage -
The weather was a little cool today, which was sort of nice. I can't think of the last time I had to don a thick cozy winter sweater and warm wooly socks. We took a nice drive around the town to scope out some nice roads that we might be able to cycle on. While on our outing, we came across a vineyard with a welcoming sign inviting us to come taste their wines. Being from wine country in California, we decided we had to stop off and see how Virginia wines compare to our home state. We were both delightfully surprised and really enjoyed our wine tasting experience. We both figured since it gets so cold here all winter, the grapes wouldn't have time to be anything but super sweet. That shows how much we know about wine making, because they had some of the best reds we've ever tasted, and some grape names we had never heard of. The owner/wine maker lives on the 300+ acres property with his family and they do everything right here on premises.
We bought a couple bottles to take home with us so we can have a little vino with dinner as we celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. How is it that that many years have passed since we said I do? I guess the old saying is true - don't blink too much in life, because times fly by.

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Driving over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge to Philly

All aboard the Duck to take us for a tour of the city by land and sea

Driving under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge

A brief stop off in China Town

May 3rd - Philly-ing up on History -
Since we are caught up on our work, and don't have any more campground appointments until tomorrow, we decided to head into Philadelphia and see some sights. We did visit here a few years back, but didn't get to see everything we wanted back then so we made up for it today. We were toured all through Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed, we were then driven all around the city and sea in a Duck, and then walked around a bit to the places we wanted to see in more detail. I tell ya, the only way to see a big city and get all the history is either a Duck tour or a double decker bus. One can get a whole semester of history class within a couple hours, not to mention front row seats.

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The infamous sign to show that Philly is the city of brotherly love

The first post office of the U.S.A. and the only one that doesn't have to fly an American flag

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Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed

The actual room still set up from the 1700's where the Declaration was signed

Heading up stairs to see where Congress first met

Some of the original desks that the Congressmen of old sat at

We walked the same stairs that George Washington did back in the 1700's, and we stood where the original Congress and House of Representatives met, before Washington D.C. was founded. We passed by the Brotherly Love sign that Philly is noted for, and perhaps the most recognizable statue in the area, Rocky. He stands right below the infamous steps that he ran up in the first movie. We didn't get a change to stop and snap a photo, but then again, we have to save something for the next time we 're in town.

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A little stop of in the town of Cape May

We decided to take a tour of the lighthouse

Quite a good workout up all those stairs

It was the perfect day for a clear view

May 10th - A Walking Tour in Cape May -
Another busy week is finished off with another beautiful day off. The Jersey Shore is a great place to spend a lazy day just walking the shops in town and browsing through the streets. We had the beach to ourselves since school is still in and this part of the country doesn't see too many tourists until after Memorial Day, so it was a nice place to stretch our legs. Our legs got even more of a workout when we stumbled upon the Cape May Lighthouse and its 199 steps to the top, as did our eyes once we saw how vast and picturesque the views were. And we both got new hair-dos from the wild wind at the top. Those photos were far too funny to post, and by funny I mean we looked really lame! Once back on solid ground, we found a fabulous pizza place, took our dinner to go, and headed home to finish up on some last minute paperwork and plan our campground visits for next week. There's nothing quite like a good pizza to finish off a day of playing tourist. Any excuse to not have to do dishes is a good day in my book.

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It was a darling little town with lots of shops

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Now we are settled just outside New York City with a view of its gorgeous skyline

Enjoying the beach from indoors looking at the beach on the outside

We took a long walk on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, had lunch, and put our toes in the ocean

Atlantic City Boardwalk-
What do you do when you are driving along a road and see Trump Plaza off in the distance? Ummm, you drive over and check it out! No, we aren't big gamblers, in fact we didn't wager a cent, but it's Atlantic City people, come on! After finding a place to park and not being entirely sure of the safety of our bodies or our vehicle while exiting the parking lot to the boardwalk, we decided to tempt fate a bit and take a stroll. We walked through a couple casinos, down to the end of the warf to overlook the beach, which you can still enjoy indoors even in winter. It wasn't as amazing as we thought it would be, once you've seen one boardwalk, you've really seen them all, but at least we can check it off the list of things to do in New Jersey, and finish our drive to New York. There just happens to be an RV park 10 minutes from Manhattan that we just have to visit as part of this grueling new job we have, not to mention conveniently located to a couple great friends that I've known for ever. Since most RV parks are crazy busy this holiday weekend, we have decided to take it off and will be spending Memorial in the Big Apple! Can't wait!

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Standing at the entrance to Central Park

A stop off at Tavern on the Green for lunch

A beautiful day for a stroll in Central Park

The New York skyline from our RV park

Memorial Day Weekend - Making More Memories -
The last time we were in New York City was about 5 years ago, and we only had a day to see it all. If you've ever been to New York City, you know that there is no way to see all the sights in one day, even for Frank and I, the speed vacationers. This time we have scheduled enough time to not only see all the sights that we missed last time, but we can see them much slower. One of the perks of driving all over the place for half your lives is that you become directionally brilliant and can master such things as the New York Subway system quickly. The downside of learning your way around the city being 200 feet below it, is that sometimes when you pop out from underground, you become directionally retarded. But lucky for us, we are in New York City, so wandering around aimlessly almost always leads you to somewhere really cool and new to explore. Take Central Park for example. We were walking through it taking in the views and thinking "We're kind of hungry." Just then we saw a building and thought "This looks like a nice place to eat."

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An evening with my sweet Gina

As we walked in to be seated and were handed menus, we noticed the words "Tavern on The Green" written across the top of the entree choices and thought "Wow! We've always wanted to eat here, how perfect is this?" One day we met up with one of my dearest friends from high school, who just happens to live in Brooklyn, and just happened to be heading to Union Square Park while we were in the neighborhood.
Another evening we took the train all the way to Port Washington to met another great friend, this one from elementary school, without getting lost. We took in the Broadway Show "Chicago", went to a comedy night at some back alley theatre that gave us flashbacks to the alley in Nightmare on Elm Street with Freddie and his claws scrapping on metal. Obviously since this entry was uploaded we did exit the alley alive.
We spent an afternoon at Ground Zero taking in the 9-11 Memorials, which are two deep holes where amazing waterfalls flow and mesmerize you by the strength and sound of the water going down into the ground of where the two towers once stood. Each and every name of the victims from those two towers are artfully etched in the railings around the memorials, and the Freedom Tower stands over the memorials 104 stories above them to show that we are stronger than those cowards who attacked us.

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The Freedom Tower behind us that is now the tallest building in America

A moment of silence at one the waterfalls at the 9-11 memorial

Ready for Broadway with tickets to Chicago

The Empire State Building lit up for Memorial Day

We finished off our weekend with a couple meetings with one of our biggest clients here in the state, and one last evening in the city where we saw the Empire State Building all dressed up for the holiday weekend. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here in the city and are ready fro the next crazy busy few months of working in New England. We will head out tomorrow morning after one last meeting and make our way to Connecticut. Stay tuned to see just where this "Summer of Good Sam" takes us next... ... ...

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Makes me want some turkey

Can you see the rock below us?

One can faintly make out the year

A recreation of the original Mayflower

June 20th - A Walk with the Pilgrims - Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts -
In the midst of visiting campgrounds today we noticed our very close proximity to Plymouth, Ma. Apparently our old age is beginning to appear, since it took us both a minute to go from "Why does that town sound familiar" to "Hey, isn't that where the pilgrims landed?" Yes, we are self confident enough to admit our senior moments, however we are a little less forthcoming with showing those around us we are total tourists, and instead of asking someone where the actual rock was (or if it was an actual rock at all, or just a town name) we turned to our good friend Google, who lead us right to it. Turns out in is a rock, in the middle of the sand, on the beach. It was a bit smaller than it was back in 1620, and is now surrounded by protective walls. It does still lay where it did many many moons ago, and is quite a historical site to see.
After we visited the rock, we walked through the marina and passed by the Mayflower II. A replica that was created to look just like the original Mayflower that brought so many people to America almost 400 years ago, and boy is it a teeny tiny vessel for that many people. I can't imagine how tight the quarters must have been, or the scent of the vessel by the time it hit the rock. I am grateful beyond words to not have had to make that voyage, but grateful to those who did in order to start this enormous country that we still love to travel through.

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We turned the ferry ride over into a mobile office

The cute Gingerbread Houses all around the island

A working lunch, have we mentioned just how terrible this job is

Goodbye beautiful Martha's Vineyard

June 24th - All For the Sake of a Job - Martha's Vineyard -
Have you ever had one of those days at work where you're about ready to quit? About ready to just walk out the door, or in our case drive out of our territory and never be heard from again? Can you believe the gall of Good Sam to make us endure the day we did? Okay, let me start from the beginning... Our day began before the sun came up. We packed up our computers and a few files and boarded the ferry out to Martha's Vineyard where there just happens to be a campground, after all we DO have to visit each and every privately owned campground in all of Massachusetts. As the sun rose it was clear to us that it was going to be a gorgeous day with the temperature around 75. I mean really? You're forcing us to go to one of the top locations on my bucket list and get paid to do so? And on top of that, while attempting to do some paperwork and send a couple emails while on the ferry, we were completely distracted by the gorgeous views of the water and the land we passed. Well, once we got off the ferry things only got worse, the terribly nice owner of the campground was there to pick us up and took us on a personal tour of the city, a cruise around his RV Park, and then drove us back to town with a great recommendation on what to see and where to eat after our great meeting with him. It was all in all a bear of a day so we just had to finish it off with lunch at the water's edge with a glass of wine and did our best to erase the memories of such a fabulous, picture perfect day. Note to self, next time we have to do something so horrid... pack an overnight bag along with the briefcase and explore the picture perfect island even more. If any of you ever find yourselves on this side of the country, this is a stop you must make. Even if you don't get paid to visit.

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The views from the ferry ride as we left port, gorgeous homes all around us

The airport used in Wings, one of our favorite all time shows

A fun scooter ride all around the island, taking in all the sites

We stopped off for dinner where one of the patrons was passing out Dom - YUM!

June 29th - Bucket List Item19 = Checked! - Nantucket Island -
When Frank and I were dating, about 100 years ago, we used to watch the TV show Wings. One of Frank's goals was to get his pilot's license and in preparation, we got into the show. Nantucket always seemed like such a dreamy place to visit, so we decided that once Frank got his license, we would fly there. Well... part of that dream came true... Frank did in fact get his pilot's license, and we did fly a few places, but not much further than Pismo Beach or Santa Barbara from our little home town of Buellton since being newly married one's financial status is quite modest. So fast forward from 1996 to yesterday! We finally made it out to Nantucket, only via boat and not air. No, not to visit an RV park, just to have a really fun day off. We rented a little scooter once we landed and drove all over the island. We found the actual airport that the show was filmed at, drove around the lighthouse from the intro, drove by the restaurant in town where quite a few scenes were filmed and ended up at an amazing restaurant right on the water surrounded by yachts that were more expensive than the 7- 10 figure homes we googled at earlier in the day. We had a couple appetizers and were nicely relaxing when all of a sudden a group of people came into the bar. They say at the few empty barstool that were left, ordered a couple rounds of drinks, and all of a sudden rounds of drinks were coming our way. "Compliments of the man at the end of the bar." What are we in... a movie? Next thing we knew magnums of Dom Perignon were being passed around and Frank and I were talking to Kennedy relatives. I must admit for a moment or two I felt as though we were one of the locals. We ordered a few more appetizers and socialized with our new found friends for a few hours, when all of a sudden we realized that in about half an hour the very last ferry back to the mainland was boarding. Deciding not to leave our sweet feathered babies home alone, we quickly said goodbye to our friends, paid our bill and headed to the ferry which we boarded in the nick of time, settled into some very comfy couches, order a cup of hot tea and enjoyed the views on the return trip home. It was one of the most fun days we have had on our adventure this summer, and is definitely on the top 50 list of fun all-time days... ... so far.

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Nothing like adding a whole extra state on to our schedule at the last minute

A rough day at the office, with sales meetings

Taking full advantage of all the lobster Maine has to offer

Some campgrounds were stunning and tranquil

July 5th- Lobster, Lobster, Everywhere and Oh So Much to Eat! -
As we were finishing up all of our stops in Massachusetts and Connecticut, we began to think to ourselves, 'How is it we are done with all our campground visits so early? After all we technically still have over a month left to finish." Apparently the higher powers knew something was coming and made us kick it up a notch. After all we had already finished up working all throughout New Jersey and Rhode Island, not that Rhode Island is any bigger than the size of LA, but still. Just about the second we figured out we now had even more time to play a bit and explore fun cities like Boston and Salem, we received a call from our sales director asking us if there was any way we could shoot up to Maine for a bit and cover that state as well, since the couple assigned to that area was having health issues. Thinking quickly, and not looking at a map we figured "Heck how much bigger than Connecticut can Maine be?" Holy Lobster Batman, apparently we should have looked at a map first.

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Others were... well... you get the idea...

Turns out we were off just a wee bit, yes Maine is about the size of Connecticut... plus Massachusetts, plus New Jersey, and Rhode Island, and then Connecticut again... and again... and half over again. YIKES! Lucky for us, Frank and I are pretty hard workers and quite efficient with our time, so we took on the challenge and headed up to Maine once the Fourth of July weekend was over. We may be here until the end of time, but at least there is some great food to be had up here. My personal goal is to eat my weight in lobster before we leave, so if we did have to stay longer than expected, I sure wouldn't be too heartbroken.

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Fun walks with the birds exploring new campgrounds

We celebrated our very last day of inspections with some bubbly and views

Our faithful motorhome hits 300,000 miles, and just as many memories!

And many many new friendships made all over New England

July 25th- Time Flies While You're Working Hard -
I swear just last week we received the call from Good Sam offering us this new job, and just yesterday it feels like we were in California at training. I can't get over just how fast time does go by, and just how busy we have been. Keep in mind that phone call came last November and the trip to California was back in March, so a few days have passed since then. A few crazy days that is. Most of our days of late have started at around 5 am with some bird hang out time, map routing, file prep and driving to different locations and these same days end around 11pm at night once all the paperwork is finished, uploaded to the computer and files are put back away.

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Working lunches

Lots of paperwork

Call us anal, but if we let one day of paperwork slide into the next we will quickly be buried, and I can't sleep when I have too many things unfinished. I much prefere finishing the day's work and restfully sleeping. And trust me, after these last few weeks sleep comes very quickly. This job is perfectly suited for us, we both love the thrill of being crazy busy with piles of work and deadlines and projects and new places to explore, it makes for an exciting life, and it makes those down days even more enjoyable and appreciated.
It never ceases to amaze us just how awesome most campground owners and managers are. These people rarely get a day off from the moment their campgrounds open in April or May to the day they close down in September or October, but they still have a smile on their face to greet campers, and those pesky Good Sam reps like us that most often show up when they are in the throws of their busiest days. We have truly met some great people that we will definitely keep in touch even after our season with Good Sam ends. And perhaps we'll see a few of them again in our next season with Good Sam as it seems to work perfectly into our plan of working part of the year and traveling the rest. The photos above show a few highlights of our season so far.

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New England's newest RV Park

We just had to tour the amusement park as part of our inspection

Our personal shuttle ride from the RV park to the front gate

Back at the campground more campers are checking in

August 10th - A Brand New Campground Opens - Hartford, Connecticut -
What more could you ask for? A brand spankin' new RV park right on the property of America's first ever amusement park with the #1 rated wooden roller coaster is any marketers dream come true. And just like the old saying goes, unbeknownst to us, we did in fact save the best for last. After reading an article in one of the many RV publications our home office keeps up with, this little jewel in Connecticut was brought to our attention. Not knowing how far along it would be in its development, we decided to call the office of Bear Creek Campground at Lake Compounce and see if we could stop by for a visit. After a little bit of phone tag, we were happily invited to come back down to Connecticut and tour the RV park in person. Both the manager of the RV park and the marketing director of the amusement park happily met with us, let us tell them all the great things Good Sam can do for them and personally gave us a tour of the entire facility. Yes, this meant having to do difficult things such as riding roller coasters, being transported up a picturesque mountain aboard a ski lift style chair, testing out their jiffy pop over a campfire and their marshmallows on top of graham crackers. Better for us to find defective popcorn pans then their real campers ya know!
After a couple nights of research we concluded that yes, they do have all it takes to be a fabulous tourist attraction that campers will flock to once they see them in our directory and our great on-line presence and mobile app. So since some of you are still questioning "What the heck do Frank and Suzy actually do.... We do a bit of marketing for RV parks and here's a sneak peek. www.goodsamcamping.com

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Good Sam + Lake Compounce = a great partnership

A fun slow ride up the mountain + a day off = bliss

A fun fast ride down the mountain = Whhheeeeee!

Campfires and s'mores in the evenings under a beautiful sky = happiness

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Some fun down time with friends on Labor Day at Lake Nacimiento.

Live music at Firestone Winery with good friends on a gorgeous evening

A super fun day acting like little kids with good friend's little kids

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Heading West - From Bangor to Boise to Buellton -
After wrapping up most of our loose ends with campgrounds back east, we decided to head to Florida, via California. What?!? You mean that isn't the most direct route? Well, it is for us, especially since every few hundred miles along the way, we had friends and family to visit. We spent a fun week in Boise, Idaho with one of my very best friends and her family, including one day at Wahooz, a family fun center where you can go on bumper boats equipped with water bazookas, play dozens of video games, miniature golf and drive really fun race cars that allowed for two people to ride in one car. With Frank & Rosie in one car, Max & Toby in another and myself & Goldie in the third we faced off. Not wanting to loose the race, my sweet passenger had her foot smashed over my foot on the gas pedal and wouldn't let up. The above photo does a pretty good job of showing how much fun we had but it doesn't quite show the fearlessness in Goldie.

Celebrating birthdays

Once we hit California we spent a lazy day in the pool with friends at Lake Nacimiento over Labor Day since the poor lake isn't anything more than a puddle, and we celebrated birthdays along with summer nights with some delicious Santa Ynez Valley wines. We still have another 3 weeks here in California so stay tuned to see what's next on our agenda, it may come as a surprise to all.

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